Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Brunswick, ME, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure. We must all do more to help stop this western corporate arrogance that puts the future generations lives in despair. @BruceKGagnon

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Former BIW tax director on General Dynamics $60 mil subsidy

Must watch this..... Retired CPA and former Corporation Tax Director of Bath Iron Works on General Dynamics $60 million corporate subsidy request.

He takes the whole corporate welfare request apart.

Report: Maine Taxation Committee Public Hearing on Corporate Welfare bill

The hearing room in the state house was packed yesterday with the vast majority of the people there to oppose LD 1781 – the $60 million in corporate welfare for General Dynamics (GD).  The bill was introduced by the two sponsors, both Democrats, Rep. Jennifer DeChant (Bath) and Sen. Eloise Vitelli (Arrowsic). 

Following those preliminaries BIW V-P and lawyer John Fitzgerald took the podium and began a long-winded sorrowful testimony on the trials and tribulations of the shipyard staying competitive; securing contracts; and barely scraping by in this hard cruel world.  Once the Taxation Committee members began asking him questions he did his best to hem and haw without giving direct answers.

In particular he:

  • Refused to commit to reporting to the state how the money was spent if the bill is past
  • Refused to commit to job increases at the shipyard if the $60 million was granted
  • Refused to answer any question about GD stock buy backs ($12.9 billion since 2009)
  • Refused to give any information about GD’s real need for the requested corporate welfare

But LD 1781 was actually the second item on the Taxation Comm. agenda yesterday.  The first bill was requesting more money for the Department of Transportation to fix roads, bridges, rails and ports.  The state has a $60 million shortfall at the DOT.  Currently 33% of bridges in Maine are in deficient condition.  Even the Truckers Association supported an increase in gas taxes if the terrible roads in northern Maine could be repaired.  The testimony on this bill really set the mood for LD 1781 that followed.

Only one person from any BIW unions spoke (a V-P from Local 7, the smallest union at the shipyard).  Those in the know later commented that it appeared to all that the unions (there are several at the shipyard) had made their ‘required’ testimony in favor of the bill but had done it half-heartedly.  There is no love for GD by the workers at BIW who got screwed in their last contract.  One BIW worker wrote on the Facebook page post that I have recently been boosting, “We had to give back $15,000 in benefits in the last negotiations” with GD.

So that was it for the pro-LD 1781 forces.  A couple bill sponsors, the BIW lawyer, one Chamber of Commerce exec and one union V-P from the smallest union.  Everyone else who spoke was opposed.

The first speaker was a woman from Presque Isle who said, “The more profits the military industrial complex makes, the more unstable the world becomes.  GD does not need this subsidy.”

The person who stole the show was the second speaker.  He worked for BIW for seven years as the Director of Taxes at the shipyard.  He opposed the bill.  He made some very important points such as:

  • There needs to be a mechanism to audit BIW/GD’s claim of need and if passed there must be annual audits to see how they spent the funds
  • Maine currently does not audit any such ‘subsides’ to corporations given in the state
  • When BIW pays state taxes GD writes that off in their contracts with the Navy to build ships – (that raised some eyebrows on the committee and in the audience)
  • If passed the amount of years giving tax credits to GD should be reduced from 20 years to five
  • The credit should be eliminated in any year that employment drops below 4,000 workers.

Then a long string of other speakers (all opposed) made many excellent points.  Here are some of them:

  • There is no transparency currently from BIW/GD about their need
  • The state has no evaluation process written into LD 1781
  • We’ve heard for the last 20 years that BIW might have to leave if they don’t get support from Maine.  Why doesn’t the state have a Plan B to convert the shipyard if they did leave?
  • Companies get hooked on these corporate give-a-ways
  • GD should open their books and show their financial need
  • Corporate welfare is hurting our country
  • What is the cost to our souls to keep building warships in our state?
  • Corporate stock buy backs are a primary reason for reduced wages and US economic decline
  • Kill the bill – don’t amend it and don’t compromise
  • A recent Fortune Magazine article had a telling quote from a GD consultant that read:  “Boeing makes planes; Raytheon makes missiles; General Dynamics makes money.”
  • Currently we are hearing that GD is telling Maine state legislators that they need more money to train young workers.  It should be stated that the federal contract GD signs with the Navy to build ships at BIW covers all their costs: workers’ pay, materials, equipment, corporate profits and the training of the workforce
  • We keep hearing about competition from the Mississippi shipyard.  The Navy wants two shipyards – if a hurricane hit Mississippi they’d want BIW still working
  • Manufacturing sector in America will do very well in the new Trump federal tax bill.  GD does not need our support
  • Why should a poor state like Maine have to subsidize military production?
  • GD always plays the fear card
  • Our economy is a war economy

There were three newspapers represented in the hearing and MPBN listened to the live feed and gave limited coverage to the hearing.  See below for a couple of links to initial hearing coverage.

The next step will be a Taxation Committee Work Session (note date change) on Thursday, Feb 8 at 1:00 pm in State House Room 127.  The public is invited to attend but not allowed to speak unless called upon.

Our strategy on LD 1781 is to continue to alert the public to this corporate welfare bill so that Mainers can contact their state elected officials urging them to vote it down.  In order to do that we must keep the letters and Op-Eds flowing into daily and weekly papers across the state.  Even if you’ve already written a letter – please write another and get others to write one as well.  So far there have been at least 35 pieces printed in 14 papers.

One state representative from West Bath was in the hearing room yesterday to listen.  She told one person in our group that she has been getting a lot of calls and that ‘people are against this bill’. 

I think our collective efforts on LD 1781 has moved the lever from 'full speed ahead' to 'drop the anchor and hold position’....If we all do our bit we can defeat this bill or at the least dramatically reduce the amount of money that is put into it.  Don’t we all recognize the urgent human and infrastructure needs in Maine that would go unfunded if this bill is passed?


This campaign is supported by:

Americans Who Tell the Truth (Brooksville)
COAST (Citizens Opposing Active Sonar Threats, Hancock)
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space (Bath)
Greater Brunswick PeaceWorks
Green Horizon Magazine (Topsham)
Island Peace & Justice (Deer Isle)
Maine Green Independent Party
Maine Natural Guard (Solon)
Maine Veterans For Peace
Maine War Tax Resistance Resource Center (Portland)
Maine Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom (Brunswick)
Peace Action Maine (Portland)
Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine (Bangor)
Peace & Justice Group of Waldo County
Peninsula Peace & Justice Center (Blue Hill)
Resources for Organizing & Social Change (Augusta) 

Monday, January 29, 2018

U.S. pushing Ukraine back to war in Donbass

This video was shot during the Obama administration when his Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt joined Maj. Gen. Gregory Lengyel, Commander of US Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR), on his trip to Khmelnytskyi (western Ukraine), where US Special Forces from Fort Carson, Colorado were training the then newly formed National Guard.  Many of these National Guard were made up of Nazi death squad members who were given a nice new uniform and taught to salute properly and then were prepared to attack their fellow citizens in eastern Ukraine (Donbass) along the Russian border.

The goal of the US has always been to create the justification to expand US-NATO military operations along the Russian border in order to create chaos near and inside Russia.  The US wants regime change in Moscow and is now playing with fire to try to achieve that dangerous goal.

In a new article entitled War in Donbass expected by time of Russian elections Eduard Popov (currently the leading research fellow of the Institute of the Russian Abroad and the founding director of the Europe Center for Public and Information Cooperation) writes the following:

For four years already, the US and its NATO allies have intensively trained the Ukrainian army, regularly held military exercises involving NATO and UAF troops, and occupied Ukraine’s training grounds. These efforts have not been in vain. Without American and NATO help - be it financial, technical, or in terms of training or the involvement of NATO instructors and commandos in combat operations - the UAF would have faced utter defeat back in 2014.

In other words, Ukraine is not ready for war. Kiev is counting on aid from the West in exchange for its servitude as the “eastern shield” against the “Russian barbarians.” Ukraine pays for its confrontation with Russia in blood, while the West pays only in money. Such is the delegation of roles. The Ukrainian leadership is deeply indifferent to the fate of its wounded, so we can safely predict a very high death count in Ukrainian hospitals. 

All of this goes to show that Ukraine is objectively unprepared for war on its own. But, as our numerous analyses and Ukrainian actions have demonstrated, Western-dictated Kiev is evidently pushing towards war no matter the cost. As follows, the unpreparedness of the Ukrainian side testifies to the increasing possibility of the direct involvement of foreign forces.
I agree with Popov when he says that 'foreign forces' - meaning the US and NATO - are pushing this war.  Washington and Brussels do not care about the lives lost or the destruction of Ukraine.  All they care about is punching Russia (and particularly Putin) in the nose.  Putin's crime?  He has refused to surrender his nation, its economy and its resources to the west like Yeltsin before him did without so much as a whimper.  

The US can't control Putin so that means war - one way or the other.  Except in this case the US has picked a fight with a country that can actually fight back.  Russia is not Panama or Granada or Iraq, Libya or Syria.

Popov's informed speculation is that the US-NATO wants Kiev to attack the Donbass right before the Russian election on March 18.  The deep state in Washington is running this show.  If you doubt me just look at the short video of former V-P Joe Biden just a couple of posts below this one.

The US is an out-of-control arrogant and criminal state.  Either the people in the US wake up and move to stop this or we are going to WW III.  Maybe sooner than we ever thought.


Determination & persistence wins for native Hawaiian people.....

Arrested for holding a sign at the public ‘christening’ ceremony gate

Aegis 9 arrested at Bath Iron Works in Maine on April 1, 2017 during the last christening’ of another Navy destroyer.  The group goes to trial in Bath on February 1-2.
 A call has been put out for another group of citizens willing to risk arrest at the next BIW destroyer ‘christening’.  Even though we don’t yet know the next ‘christening’ date, already 47 people have signed up to come to Bath and stand against another expensive and provocative Aegis destroyer – outfitted with destabilizing ‘missile defense’ systems that are key elements in Pentagon first-strike attack planning.

Our vision is that BIW be converted to build commuter rail systems, offshore wind turbines, solar and tidal power systems that would help us deal with our real problem – climate change.  We also call for the end to Maine taxpayer subsidies to the General Dynamics Corporation (5th largest weapons contractor in the world) as owner of BIW.  They’ve used past Maine subsidies ($200 million since 1997) to mechanize the operation which has led to job loss.  Additionally General Dynamics has used the money to buy back their own stocks driving market value higher.

The Aegis 9 go to trial on February 1-2 at the Sagadahoc County Courthouse in Bath (corner of Centre and High Streets) at 9:00 am.  We will hold a vigil in front of the courthouse at 7:30 am on Thursday, Feb 1 if you’d like to join us.

Also on Feb 1 we will hold a pot luck supper for the Aegis 9 at the Addams-Melman House in Bath (212 Centre St) starting about 5:30 pm.  All are welcome to attend.

Let us know if you need home hospitality during the trial.

For more info:
Volunteers to Risk Arrest at BIW during next Destroyer ‘christening’ 

  • Peggy Akers Portland, ME
  • Peter Baldwin Brooks, ME
  • Ellen Barfield Baltimore, MD
  • Lynn Bradbury Lubec, ME
  • Meredith Bruskin Swanville, ME
  • Nancy Button Warren, ME
  • Kate Chipman Brunswick, ME
  • Anni Cooper Freeport, ME
  • Bob Dale Brunswick, ME
  • Christine DeTroy Brunswick, ME
  • Mike Donnelly Brunswick, ME
  • Mary Donnelly Brunswick, ME
  • Dan Ellis Brunswick, ME
  • Ridgely Fuller Belfast, ME
  • Michael Gibson Lewiston, ME
  • Nate Goldshlag Arlington, MA
  • Suzanne Hedrick Nobleboro, ME
  • Dud Hendrick Deer Isle, ME
  • Rev. Mair Honan Freeport, ME 
  • Cynthia Howard, Biddeford Pool, ME
  • Ken Jones Ashville, NC
  • Tarak Kauff Woodstock, NY
  • Bob Klotz Portland, ME
  • Carmen Lavertu Thomaston, ME
  • Brown Lethem Bath, ME
  • Rev. Leroy Lowell Casco, ME
  • Kenneth Mayers Santa Fe, NM 
  • Natasha Mayers Whitefield, ME
  • John Morris New Gloucester, ME
  • Jane Newton Bath, ME
  • Jules Orkin Bergenfield, NJ
  • Rosalie Paul Brunswick, ME
  • Roy Pingel Brooklyn, NY
  • Doug Rawlings Farmington, ME
  • Jason Rawn Bath, ME
  • Bill Rixon Freeport, ME
  • Lisa Savage Solon, ME
  • Ginny Schneider Portland, ME
  • Dixie Searway Vermont
  • Rob Shetterly Brooksville, ME
  • Lora Somlyo Portland, ME
  • Mary Beth Sullivan Bath, ME 
  • Will Thomas Auburn, NH
  • Karen Wainberg Bath, ME
  • Jay Wenk Woodstock, NY
  • Russell Wray Hancock, ME
  • Crystal Zevon Vermont 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The number$ tell the story......

Arrogant Biden spills the beans....

Notice too that his speech was at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) which is one of the top 'deep state' ruling elite organizations.

Try to get a look some time at the membership list of the CFR. They've got virtually every party, every media outlet, every progressive movement infiltrated with their members. They steer much of everything.

After Biden and the US essentially took over the Ukrainian government after the US-NATO 2014 coup d'etat in Kiev, Biden's son was appointed to the board of directors of one of the top fossil fuel companies in Ukraine.  Corruption....

Sunday Song

Brief History of the Doomsday Clock from on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

U.S. heads for total war

In the video Ben Norton says:

In December, President Donald Trump released a new national security strategy, which reveals that the top priority for U.S. national security is not countering "terrorism," but rather countering the influence of competing foreign states, namely China and Russia.

Defense Secretary James Mattis said openly, "great power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary focus of U.S. national security."

There has of course long been skepticism of the notion that the "war on terror" was ever even about stopping terror in the first place.

But the Trump administration's new national security strategy stands out as one of the most frank admissions yet that U.S. foreign policy is principally about undermining foreign states that challenge U.S. economic and political interests, not about stopping extremist groups that threaten civilians.

The Open Secret

Friday, January 26, 2018

Hacked and lost email connection

My Earthlink email account has been hacked and shut down as of about 1:00 pm today. Any emails you get from me after that time today via my won't be coming from me.

Consider that the case until told otherwise.


at 5:00 pm back.  Called Earthlink and they said someone tried to hack into my email account so they shut it down.  Got new password and hope things return to normal....

On Friday evening the saga continued as my desktop computer had to be taken to my repair person due to it freezing up on me.  Then on Saturday my laptop went haywire and froze up.  So now I am using MB's computer. 

Is it just a coincidence that both of my computers are hacked and shut down just days before the Public hearing at the State Legislature in Augusta on the General Dynamics (GD) $60 million corporate welfare request and our trial on Feb 1-2 for civil disobedience at the GD owned shipyard here in Bath?

Sure makes one wonder.....

Update on General Dynamics corporate welfare campaign (LD 1781)

Here are some updates from the current General Dynamics $60 million corporate welfare campaign here in Maine:

  • The Taxation Committee Public Hearing in Augusta will be held on Tuesday, January 30 at 1:00 pm inside the State House Room 127.  One other bill is also on the agenda.  We hope for a strong turnout – speakers sign up at the hearing and are given three minutes each to talk.

  • Then on Tuesday, February 6 the Taxation Committee will have a Work Session at 1:00 pm.  The public is allowed to attend though not able to speak.  We want again a solid turnout for this meeting as they will begin their sausage making process.

  • Our media campaign to alert the public about the General Dynamics (GD) request for $60 million is going well.  So far we have had at least 30 Op-Eds and Letters in a dozen newspapers across the state.  Please keep writing them and get others to do so.  This is our primary way to alert the public to this GD bill.

  • I have boosted (at the cost of $200) Orlando Delogu’s recent excellent column in The Forecaster.  So far over 700 people have read the article and 42 have shared it.  This is allowing us to reach well beyond our normal circles in Maine.  One biker from Fryeburg shared the article.  Some BIW workers have also shared and commented – one of them complaining about the ‘give backs’ the union was forced to do in the last contract negotiations at BIW.  The post boost is for 18 days on Facebook.

  • Peggy Akers (VFP) spoke at the Women’s march last weekend in Augusta and included the opposition to LD 1781 in her talk.  Thanks Peggy. Jason Rawn handed out flyers about LD 1781 at the rally as well.

  • We just learned today that GD is hitting up Connecticut for $150 million as well.  GD tells legislators in Maine, Rhode Island and Connecticut that they need ‘more money for training new workers’ but their federal contract with the Navy already includes funds for training. In fact a lot of the money Maine has given to GD since 1997 ($200 million) has gone for mechanization of the shipyard which has actually reduced jobs.

  • The leadership of the Democratic Party in Maine appears to be mostly behind LD 1781.  They should be reminded how their party recently criticized Sen. Susan Collins for supporting Trump’s federal tax cut for corporations like GD that reduced the tax rate from 35 to 20 percent.

  • Fortune magazine ran a puff-piece recently about the CEO of GD - Phebe Novakovic - who was paid $21 million last year.  One quote stands out: “Boeing makes planes; Raytheon  makes missiles; General Dynamics makes money,” says Loren Thompson, chief operating officer of the Lexington Institute and a consultant to GD and other defense companies. See the article at

Please do what you can to help spread this citizens revolt against corporate welfare.  Every dollar that is wasted on making GD richer could have gone a long way to help the poor and repaired our broken infrastructure across Maine.  You can reach the Maine legislature at


This campaign is supported by:

Americans Who Tell the Truth (Brooksville)
COAST (Citizens Opposing Active Sonar Threats, Hancock)
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space (Bath)
Greater Brunswick PeaceWorks
Green Horizon Magazine (Topsham)
Island Peace & Justice (Deer Isle)
Maine Green Independent Party
Maine Natural Guard (Solon)
Maine Veterans For Peace
Maine War Tax Resistance Resource Center (Portland)
Maine Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom (Brunswick)
Peace Action Maine (Portland)
Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine (Bangor)
Peace & Justice Group of Waldo County
Peninsula Peace & Justice Center (Blue Hill)
Resources for Organizing & Social Change (Augusta)

Pushing for regime change in Iran

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Remember Congo

I remember when we lived in England my dad came home talking about things were getting hot in the Congo.  He seemed a bit scared - he was in photo reconnaissance loading the spy cameras on planes at the US air force base.

The Congo story always stuck with me as I grew up and lately I've wanted to show greater solidarity with the people on the African continent as the Pentagon's Africa Command (AFRICOM) moves to expand US military operations there.  Washington is going full bore to create chaos as the west tries to desperately hang on to control of Africa.  China is finding many welcoming arms as they help invest in things the local African community badly needs.  The US only offers war - weapons are now our #1 national industrial export product.

Patrice Lumumba was killed in a CIA-directed operation at the age of 36 in 1961.  The US was even then making its moves on the grand chessboard cut deeply into the heart of the African continent.

Jacobin shares the bigger story:

The Belgians reluctantly conceded political independence to the Congolese, and two years later, following a decisive win for the Congolese National Movement in the first democratic elections, Lumumba found himself elected to prime minister and with the right to form a government. A more moderate leader, Joseph Kasavubu, occupied the mostly ceremonial position of Congolese president.

On June 30, 1960, Independence Day, Lumumba gave what is now considered a timeless speech. The Belgian king, Boudewijn, opened proceedings by praising the murderous regime of his great-great uncle, Leopold II (eight million Congolese died during his reign from 1885 to 1908), as benevolent, highlighted the supposed benefits of colonialism, and warned the Congolese: “Don’t compromise the future with hasty reforms.” Kasavubu, predictably, thanked the king.

Then Lumumba, unscheduled, took the podium. What happened next has become one of the most recognizable statements of anticolonial defiance and a postcolonial political program. As the Belgian writer and literary critic Joris Note later pointed out, the original French text consisted of no more than 1,167 words. But it covered a lot of ground.

The first half of the speech traced an arc from past to future: the oppression Congolese had to endure together, the end of suffering and colonialism. The second half mapped out a broad vision and called on Congolese to unite at the task ahead.

Most importantly, Congo’s natural resources would benefit its people first: “We shall see to it that the lands of our native country truly benefit its children,” said Lumumba, adding that the challenge was “creating a national economy and ensuring our economic independence.” Political rights would be reconceived: “We shall revise all the old laws and make them into new ones that will be just and noble.”

The oil, precious minerals, water, and other resources in Congo could not be left under the control of someone like Lumumba.  That would be dangerous and the idea of declaring independence from the west would spread like wildfire across the continent. That would harm the corporate plan to control and sever from Africa virtually everything of value.  Only the people were in the way.

It was during those days that the mafia, the mega-resource extraction companies, Wall Street and the military industrial complex merged their interests into the CIA as the 'deep state' to run America.  An extraordinary effort would be put into place to sell 'democracy and freedom' as the goals of the nation.  But in the shadows America was wielding its dark axe. The CIA had at its disposal the always expanding military organ called NATO.  Together they formed the military fist of corporate capital.

They've been taking down leaders and countries since the end of WW II but Congo should be remembered as one of history's great tragedies.  The people had a vision and if they had been left alone to run their own lives the world would be better for it.  With AFRICOM in place the signal is that the US-NATO is willing to fight to hang onto the continent.  Colonialism dies hard.


The spark that changed South Korea

South Korea was a US controlled military dictatorship until 1987.Then students sparked a revolution.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Another day under corporate control

  • I spent much of yesterday working on the next Global Network Space Alert newsletter.  I hope to get it to our layout person by the end of the week.  We've got some great articles in this coming edition but as I was pulling things together it is clearer than ever to me just how massive the US effort is to encircle Russia and China in a desperate attempt to hang onto the fading empire.  Washington is rolling the nuclear-loaded dice and appears to think that bluster, threats, destabilization and chaos creation will somehow ensure its hold on the global economic system.  With each passing day more of the world's people come to realize that the once invincible America has run aground on the rocky coast.

  • The demonization of China and Russia on western media is non-stop.  Just to illustrate this point I am right now listening to a corporate talking head being interviewed on National Public Radio (NPR) who is blaming China for 'taking American jobs'.  He didn't bother to mention that US corporations chose to move their production operations to places like China in order to increase their profits.  But all that really counts is what seed is put into the minds of the public. The strategy is to prepare the American people to fear and want revenge against China (and Russia) which means more military spending and more aggressive US operations. This strategy - fear the Indians out west and send more troops - is deeply ingrained in the American psyche. 

  • I also spent several hours yesterday preparing for our upcoming Aegis 9 trial in Bath on February 1-2.  I worked on my testimony and got some advice on how to navigate the complexities of the trial process.  Now that jury selection has been done we will move right into the state prosecutor making his case on Feb 1 and the nine of us responding the following day.  We hope to reach the hearts and minds of the jurors, the court staff and those who sit and watch the trial.  Last time we did this in Bath we heard multiple stories from people who felt changed by sitting through the Zumwalt 12 trial.  In the end we've got to defend our right to step outside of the protest zones that are increasingly feeling like cages in this country.  If we are going to tell the world that America is the epitome of democracy then the people here will need to deal with the realities of the limits that surround us and our certain reactions.

  • In recent days Bath Iron Works is stepping up their public relations campaign to sell their request for $60 million in corporate welfare from Maine.  Their new line is that with the retirement of skilled workers BIW has to train a new generation of workers.  They want money to cover that training.  Of course General Dynamics, when it signs a contract with the Navy to build destroyers, is fully paid by the federal government to train workers.  All of their projected costs are factored into their contract.  Still General Dynamics goes to Rhode Island, Connecticut, Kentucky and Maine and extracts subsidies from fiscally desperate states. This is nothing other than corporate piracy.  Few are willing to fight this in our state and sadly the corporate welfare bill is being sponsored by two elected Democrats in our local community.  I heard last night from a friend in Belfast, Maine who attended a meeting of her state representative (a Democrat) and brought up this issue of the $60 million.  One of the lines from the representative was that 'Republicans get mad when I don't support business'.  There we are....


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Opposing General Dynamics $60 million Tax Subsidy

Letter to Editor 

I wish to alert the public that the State Legislative Taxation Committee Public Hearing in Augusta for LD 1781 – the bill to give General Dynamics $60 million in corporate welfare - will be held on Tuesday, January 30 at 1:00 pm inside Room 127 at the State House.

It is important that the public attend and let our state legislators know how we feel about the proposal to give a fat subsidy to the 5th largest weapons corporation on the planet just a month after Congress dramatically reduced corporate taxes.

General Dynamics had $31.3 billion in revenues in 2016 and gave a healthy 9.4 percent return to investors.  They’ve had so much cash on hand that between 2009-2016 the corporation bought back $12.9 billion of its own stock. Stock buybacks are bad for workers and average shareholders because the real beneficiaries are slick traders who can time their sales and corporate execs with pay packages tied to stock performance.

Contrast that with Maine’s current fiscal problems.  The state can’t properly fund education, health care is still not available for thousands of our fellow citizens, roads, bridges, water and sewer systems need repairing.  Maine can’t afford to be duped into giving General Dynamics $60 million – that money is needed here in our state.

Please make an effort to come to Augusta on January 30 for the public hearing on LD 1781.  If you can’t come please let your local State Representative and Senator know your thoughts on this corporate welfare bill.  Haven’t the rich taken enough of the nation’s wealth already?
Bruce K. Gagnon

Monday, January 22, 2018

Your $$$ for War and Corporate Profits

The gap between the super rich and the rest of the world widened last year as wealth continued to be owned by a small minority, Oxfam has claimed. Some 82% of money generated last year went to the richest 1% of the global population while the poorest half saw no increase at all, the charity said. Oxfam said its figures - which critics have queried - showed a failing system. In 2017 it calculated that the world's eight richest individuals had as much wealth as the poorest half of the world. This year, it said 42 people now had as much wealth as the poorest half, but it revised last year's figure to 61. Oxfam said the revision was due to improved data and said the trend of "widening inequality" remained.
  • The U.S. military is preparing for a changing climate, but not in order to protect the Earth’s environment. The Pentagon’s first and foremost concern is to respond to global warming only in so far as that response enhances the military’s “operational effectiveness” – its ability to fight. Jim Mattis, Secretary of War, has spoken out about the dangers of climate change, running contrary to the commander-in-chief whose National Security Strategy omitted it as a threat. Analysts expect the military to continue with its climate change adaptation and preparedness programs, despite the President’s denialism. However, even as the U.S. military takes steps to make itself more fuel and energy efficient, the Department of Defense remains the world’s largest institutional fossil fuel guzzler. Big increases in the military’s size, pushed by Trump and Congress, are only going to make the Pentagon’s and the world’s carbon emissions worse – which could ultimately impact national security and “operational effectiveness.”

The title of the 2018 National Defense Strategy — “Sharpening the American Military’s Competitive Edge” — pretty much sums up the tone that has been set by Secretary of War Jim Mattis. The plan is straightforward: compete, deter and win. And that applies to outer space, too. “Space is like any other domain of war,” Mattis said following a speech at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, where he laid out the broad themes of the new strategy. Asked by a member of the audience to elaborate on how the U.S. military would fight enemies in space, Mattis delivered one of his trademark one-liners: “Don’t try it.” In space, the US has to become so strong to make it obvious to adversaries that they would have “no benefit to be gained” from attacking U.S. systems, Mattis said. Capabilities in this case are not traditional military weapons but space systems that are resilient to attack. “It’s not about what you might think, guns in space shooting at each other,” Mattis said. To deter enemies, the military has to make it hard, if not impossible, for them to interfere with U.S. satellites. “For every satellite up, we’ll have a hundred more that could launch as fast as they’re taken out,” he said.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

U.S. Militarization of African Continent

Maurice Carney (Friends of the Congo) speaking at the No Base conference organized by the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases​ last weekend in Baltimore.

He was one of my favorite speakers - I'd previously seen his talks and I always learn so much from him.

The US military expansion on the African continent is massive and will continue to grow.  Public knowledge about this needs to also increase quickly.


Sunday Song

Saturday, January 20, 2018

U.S. & Japan: Stop harassing Okinawan activists!

Ukraine & NATO expansion at No Bases Conference

Phil Wilayto speaking at the No Base conference in Baltimore organized by the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Bases.  I went to Ukraine with Phil Wilayto and Regis Trembley in 2016.....

Ana Rebrii from Ukraine also speaking at the No Base conference in Baltimore.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Presentations on Korea and Okinawa at No Bases Conference

Hyun Lee and Will Griffin were on the Asia-Pacific Pivot panel that I moderated last weekend in Baltimore at the No Bases conference.

They both did an excellent job of sharing stories about the active resistance in South Korea and Okinawa against existing US bases.  In both of those places the Pentagon is now expanding US military bases in order to handle the 'pivot' of more forces into the region that are being used to encircle China and Russia.

North Korea is used as the foil to excuse this massive Pentagon expansion. 


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Disgusting and reprehensible actions by Israeli occupiers

Israeli occupiers destroyed more than 100 olive trees owned by Palestinian villagers.

Evangelical churches and Jewish supporters in the US help pay for these illegal Israeli 'settlements' on Palestinian lands.  US taxpayers help pay for 'security' that allows the Israeli government to harass and suppress the Palestinian people.

This is pure evil - no other way to look at it.

Disgusting and reprehensible.


Too cold for universities in Ukraine

Fort Russ reports:

The Kiev National University has canceled all classes until spring, due to lack of funds to pay for heat and electricity.

It becomes starkly obvious that the war in the East is largely being funded by external parties, in a country that cannot afford to heat its own Universities.

And other universities across Ukraine are also closing until the spring.

Several Odessa universities have canceled all classes until March 26 due to the inability to pay to heat the classrooms.

Classes are canceled, in particular, in Odessa National University (ONU), Odessa Law Academy, and Academy of Food Technologies.

Teachers at ONU also reported that since January 1, 2018, new standards for lighting in the auditoriums have come into force, which the universities are also unable to fulfill due to lack of funds.

In the regional department of education and science, commenting further, they stated that all higher educational institutions are autonomous organizations, and their leadership itself decides how to organize their educational process.
More than 60% of Ukrainians cannot pay for utilities. This is evidenced by the survey data of the sociological group "Rating". The absolute majority of respondents - 97% are feeling pinched by the price increase for consumer goods and services this year.

The US ran the 2014 coup d'etat in Ukraine and now the country is collapsing. Washington does not give a damn - they wanted chaos along the Russian border and they have it.  Many Ukrainians have escaped to Europe or Russia looking for work and safety from the growing  Nazification of the country.

The attacks on the Donbass in eastern Ukraine (bordering Russia) have lately been increasing as perpetual war inside the country enables rule by the puppet regime of Petro Poroshenko, which is propped up by Washington and Brussels (NATO HQ).

In the end Ukraine has become a failed state and will soon completely collapse.  The US and the EU will abandon Ukraine and Russia will be left to pick up the pieces.  Now you might imagine why the people of Crimea voted overwhelmingly to rejoin with Russia.  They saw the train coming and got themselves off the tracks.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Cushion the empire's collapse - Bring our war $$$ home!

Dr. Margaret Flowers speaking at the No Base rally organized by the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases​ last weekend in Baltimore, Maryland.

Video by Will Griffin at The Peace Report 

Update on General Dynamics LD 1781 Public hearing in Augusta

The Taxation Committee in Augusta has scheduled the public hearing for LD 1781 (the General Dynamics $60 million corporate subsidy bill) for Tuesday, January 30 at 1:00 pm.  The hearing will be held in Room 127 inside the State House.
Additionally the Taxation Committee Work Session on the same bill will ‘probably’ be held on Tuesday, February 6 at 1:00 pm so please put that on your calendar as well.
USM emeritus Professor of Law Orlando Delogu wrote this morning the following words:
At the hearing you need to assemble people from every county and both parties—lots of them.  Let them fill the meeting room, line the hallways, spill out into the street.  A repetition of the facts—how much money this corporation has earned; how much cash on hand they have; how much they pay senior staff; how much money they’ve already gotten from the state will not hurt you.  Say it over and over.  Some speakers should point out the far more important expenditures facing the State.  Keep repeating that too.

At this point I have heard that 20 Op-Eds or Letters to Editor have been written to at least 10 Maine daily and weekly papers about this bill.  I know that others are on the way.  Please consider writing something yourself – the only way we can defeat this outrageous corporate grab of the Maine treasury is if more people across the state know about it and have a chance to react.

Also please write or call your State Representative and Senator and let them know how you feel about LD 1781.

If you need more info I’d suggest watching the interview with Orlando Delogu at

Also the ground breaking article in the Providence Journal about General Dynamics stock buybacks is all the evidence anyone needs to understand that they don’t need money from Maine.  See it at

Please do all you can to bring a car load to the public hearing in Augusta on January 30.

Thanks to all who are helping so much to stop this corporate welfare bill.